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The Art and Soul of Wine

Wine and art often blur... Before becoming fine wine connoiseurs, many of us find ourselves selecting wine because we are intrigued by the labels!

Furthermore, there is an art to making good wine. It takes time, patience and sacrifice to truly honor the craft of winemaking.

In addition, the label on the bottle often becomes a form of art because it is a direct interpretation of the vineyard.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild, one of the most famous French wine houses in the world, understood that. In 1945, they began creating an annual label that was a visual representation of the winery. Their labels have since been designed by some of the world’s greatest artists, like Marc Chagall, Keith Harring and Andy Warhol.

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, one of the preeminent Italian wine houses, has taken this concept a step further. In 2008, CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, started the “Vendemmia d’Artista” project, where they too commission an artist to design a label that captures the wine of Ornellaia.

Each year, a word is chosen that encapsulates the vintage. This year’s vintage was dubbed "L'Eleganza," or elegance. An artist is then hired to design a label that embodies that notion. Japanese artist Yutaka Sone was selected this year.

So one bottle in every box of six will have Sone’s label. But to further their commitment to the arts, each artist also is asked to create special one-of-a-kind larger-format bottles that are auctioned off. The proceeds then are donated to artistic organizations around the world.

This year, these unique Ornellaia bottles were auctioned off at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Approximately $128,000 was raised and donated back to the museum.

The Sip had the privilege of being there and spoke with artist Sone, who said, “I was able to taste the 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013.” "No artist who worked on Vendemmia has studied the wines as hard as Yutaka. Even last night he was studying," said winemaker Axel Heinz. We get it. You have to understand the art before you can design it.

Sources: Bottlenotes,,

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